Fashion in Film: Emma. (2020)

Thursday, March 26, 2020


I have always been transfixed by clothing in films, and over the years I’ve read everything I can about costume design. I was inspired to start a Twitter thread, but wanted to explore the topic without a word count. And this series, Fashion in Film, was born! Here we will take a deeper dive into notable costume design in film.

Seeking a distraction during this difficult time, I finally was able to see Emma. (2020), a movie people started recommending me immediately after the first trailer dropped! Watching director Autumn de Wilde's first foray into feature films was like a soothing balm, with a carousel of visual optimism arriving in quick succession: floral wallpaper! Ornate costumes! Lingering close-ups on hands! Tear-stricken confessions! A shock of blood! All anchored by strong performances from Anya Taylor-Joy, Miranda Hart, and Bill Nighy. There was so much I loved about this spirited take on the Jane Austen classic.

Read on for a deeper dive on my favorite costumes from Emma. (2020), which look like they were whipped up in a bakery.


Autumn de Wilde worked closely with the costume and set designers so every element performed together in tandem, referencing everything from Cecil Beaton’s lush photographs to Merchant-Ivory's A Room with a View (1985) and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006). The shared candy color palette and focus on desserts immediately made me think of Marie Antoinette and Moschino's recent Fall 2020 collection, and the confirmation of the former’s influence in Emma. made my heart sing.



Characters are dressed as if they were iced cakes, with Emma’s white dainty dresses having rosette flourishes and intricate lacing. This era has some of my favorite trends in fashion, and this film presented them beautifully in the square necklines, cap sleeves, and flowing empire waists. I loved the elaborate accessories - including busy hats, delicate ribbons interwoven in gloves, and dainty slippers all parading on-screen.

Emma herself is a clothes horse who seems relatively at ease swanning about in these elaborate embroidered dresses and over-the-top bonnets and frill collars. She only drops the performance when nobody’s looking: to hoist up her skirt to warm herself by the fire, or taking off her slippers after dancing all night. Still, Emma relishes in the art of getting ready and the attention her outfits garner her.



By contrast, her male foil Mr. Knightley, "often appears physically uncomfortable in his clothing, which is plainer and more practical than that of other men in his social position" notes LA Times, and at a climatic point in the film, Mr. Knightley's repressed emotions burst to the surface: having him rip off his suffocating cravat (predecessor to the modern day necktie) and jacket, throwing them to the floor in frustration.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the film was the color palette that bleeds over from the set design right into Emma’s wardrobe. Think rich marigold for her pelisse coat (a color mirrored in Kr. Knightley's own wardrobe), robin's egg blues, corals inspired by Italian Ice, frothy white and cream fabrics, pistachio greens and dusty rose in a braided Spencer jacket.

You can see more of Emma's beautiful wardrobe here. Have you seen Emma.? What did you think?


The new Austen adaptation took inspiration from Marie Antoinette (2006)


Creamy empire waist gowns with delicate details abound in Emma., paired with candy colored accessories: like this green striped shawl that resembles ribbon candy


Moschino Fall 2020


Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma) and Johnny Flynn (Mr. Knightley) photographed by director Autumn de Wilde for Vogue. This coral dress with beautiful floral embroidery is one of my favorites in the film, and note the darling matching slippers!

Get the Emma Look:

10 comments:

  1. I love when they remake a movie based on a period novel and they make it even better than its predecessor! I think with Emma they totally nailed it <3

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    1. Yayy thank you so much for sharing this sweet comment! I really feel like they improved upon the versions from the 90s myself, and I'm so glad to hear you thought so as well! Sending you love <3

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  2. I love this film! I can only imagine how long it took to do all the outfits, the makeup and the hair! I so wish I could have lived during those times xo

    Makeup Muddle

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it too! Definitely would have to have Emma's wardrobe today :3

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  3. Ugh I wish some of this would come back into style! Gorgeous details here x

    - Jackie | Jackieomy.com

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    1. Thank you Jackie! I linked some similar styles at the bottom of the post, keep your eye out for empire waists and pastel colors, usually they come in style in spring and I'm sure this film will start a trend like Little Women did! <3

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  4. This movie's costume design is really amazing.
    I've watched Marie Antoinette more than a couple times just to enjoy the looks, Emma is probably gonna become a new classic for doing that too! Thanks for the tip!

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    1. Ahh sending you so much love dear! Thank you so much for reading the post, it means a lot to me! <3

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  5. Emma is on my list of movies to watch. It looks amazing! Marie Antoinette is one of my favorite movies simply because of the gorgeous costume design and the beautiful scenery. ♥

    www.mooeyandfriends.com

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    1. If you love Marie Antoinette, I'm sure you are going to love Emma.! They are both just gorgeous and the Emma film has such a fun banter and pace ♥

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